Ramaphosa: Some African nations reacting like our former colonisers over Omicron

The four African countries of Rwanda, Mauritius, Seychelles and Egypt that imposed the travel bans followed the route of the UK and US, among other developed nations, which moved with haste to close its ports to Southern Africans.

President Cyril Ramaphosa arrives at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, Nigeria on 30 November 2021. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter

ABUJA, NIGERIA - President Cyril Ramaphosa said it would have been ideal if African countries did not react to the discovery of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus “like our former colonisers”.

Rwanda, Mauritius, Seychelles and Egypt are among countries that imposed travel restrictions against Southern Africans in the wake of news of the variant which is yet to be fully understood.

Ramaphosa was speaking to reporters on his trip to West Africa.

READ: They are unscientific & discriminatory: Ramaphosa on travel bans

While President Cyril Ramaphosa will for the next week advocate for African unity and free trade as he travels to Ghana and Senegal, among other countries, the ordinarily diplomatic statesman could not suppress his anger over the travel restrictions.

"I am concerned out of due respect to them, I mean they have their own reasons, but we would like to have a discussion with them. We would prefer that they do not react like our former colonisers who are very quick to close Africa down," President Ramaphosa said.

The four African countries which imposed the travel bans followed the route of the UK and US among other developed nations which moved with haste to close its ports to southern Africans.

"Because I think that it's most unfortunate that they too have joined in this. We hold the view that it's unscientific, and we would have liked them to be a lot more scientific so that we are able to find solutions and answers," the president said.

Ramaphosa has called on the nations to lift the ban on southern African travellers, saying this will have a devastating impact on the region’s economies which are barely coping under the harsh conditions brought about by the pandemic.